1991–1993: Non-Touring Years and International Success

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Posted on Mon, 02/02/2015 - 4:23pm
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R.E.M. reconvened in mid-1990 to record its seventh album, Out of Time. In a departure from Green, the band members often wrote the music with non-traditional rock instrumentation including mandolin, organ, and acoustic guitar instead of adding them as overdubs later in the creative process. Released in March 1991, Out of Time was the band's first album to top both the US and UK charts. The record eventually sold 4.2 million copies in the US alone, and about 12 million copies worldwide by 1996. The album's lead single "Losing My Religion" was a worldwide hit that received heavy rotation on radio, as did the music video on MTV. "Losing My Religion" was R.E.M.'s highest-charting single in the US, reaching number four on the Billboard charts. "There've been very few life-changing events in our career because our career has been so gradual," Mills said years later. "If you want to talk about life changing, I think 'Losing My Religion' is the closest it gets". The album's second single, "Shiny Happy People" (one of three songs on the record to feature vocals from Kate Pierson of fellow Athens band The B-52's), was also a major hit, reaching number 10 in the US and number six in the UK. Out of Time garnered R.E.M. seven nominations at the 1992 Grammy Awards, the most nominations of any artist that year. The band won three awards: one for Best Alternative Music Album and two for "Losing My Religion", Best Short Form Music Video and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. R.E.M. did not tour to promote Out of Time; instead the group played a series of one-off shows, including an appearance taped for an episode of MTV Unplugged and released music videos for each song on the video album This Film Is On.

After spending some months off, R.E.M. returned to the studio in 1991 to record its next album. Late in 1992, the band released Automatic for the People. Though the group had intended to make a harder-rocking album after the softer textures of Out of Time, the somber Automatic for the People "[seemed] to move at an even more agonized crawl", according to Melody Maker. The album dealt with themes of loss and mourning inspired by "that sense of ... turning thirty", according to Buck. Several songs featured string arrangements by former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. Considered by a number of critics (as well as by Buck and Mills) to be the band's best album, Automatic for the People reached numbers one and two on UK and US charts, respectively, and generated the American Top 40 hit singles "Drive", "Man on the Moon", and "Everybody Hurts". The album would sell over fifteen million copies worldwide. As with Out of Time, there was no tour in support of the album. The decision to forgo a tour, in conjunction with Stipe's physical appearance, generated rumors that the singer was dying or HIV-positive, which were vehemently denied by the band.

 

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R.E.M. - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : taken from - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.E.M. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/